Full to the Brim

Instead of going to class today, I spent the day laying in bed and watching videos on YouTube. Unfortunately the recent changes in weather and recent stress made me sick (more or less). It’s nothing serious but I needed the day off to unwind. I also figured that I won’t get well any time soon if I didn’t get some rest. That aside, I feel a little guilty for the lack of productivity. So, I thought I might make up for it by updating my blog!

Recently, I discovered that Glen Waverley’s Monga Sweet Lounge no longer served the ‘Taste of Vegetable” Set Lunch*. Since then I have been searching for something better. Lucky for me, I found BrimCC Japanese Organic Soup Cafe.

BrimCC is a short-walk from Southern Cross Station along Little Collins St; it’s very easy to find. Seating is limited with a long table in the middle and three smaller tables along the windows. They were packed on both occasions I visited. However, a majority of their customers were office workers. So seats are (somewhat) plentiful in between rushes.

I’ve tried their soba noodle salad, vege curry, and the Vegetarian Special. The soba noodle salad was nice; you can’t really go wrong with soba. The Vegetarian Special was also very refreshing. It has a homely feel to it, kind of like something you could only find at home – minimal oil and no MSG. I also really liked the pickled vegetables.

Their vege curry was out of the world. It’s so good it deserves its own paragraph! Haha. Honestly though, compared to Purple Peanut, who is just a street away and equally busy, I prefer BrimCC. It has this sweetness that makes your mouth salivates with each bite. I proudly admit that I finished the whole plate myself – which is something considering my small appetite. There is option of order it in a half-half set, you can pick your choice of curry plus a salad or a soup. You can even do a double-salad set. The options are endless! Next time I go, I want to try the Tokyo Bento or the Hiya Yakko… that is if I can resist ordering the vege curry again.

Delicious foods aside, here are more reason why I like this cafe:

  1. Purely vegetarian dishes. Vegetarian food are hard to find and although many places provide a few vegetarian options, they are generally bland. I love it when restaurants design a specific menu for their vegetarian customers – it makes me feel special and welcomed. BrimCC also runs their own ‘VV Project’, which you can read about it here. They’re also vegan friendly!
  2. Owned and run by Japanese. I’ve mentioned it awhile ago but I’ll say it again: Melbourne has plenty of establishments that sell Japanese food but too few are decent. I find that the food they serve are more inspired by Chinese cuisine than anything else. With that said, the dishes BrimCC are truly authentic. Furthermore, the level of service is on par with what is expected of Japanese restaurants.
  3. Wide variety of dishes. Aside from vegetarian dishes, there are also non-vegetarian dishes. This means you can take your non-vegetarian friends there with you. I’m fortunate enough to have friends that are accommodating but I have also encountered people who were polar opposites.
  4. Organic ingredients. This is just an added perk but it certainly makes me feel less guilty when I’m pigging out on curry rice.
  5. Super affordable. You would probably think that eating there would cost you a limb or two but it doesn’t! The majority of their lunch menu is under $10.
  6. Vegetarian Japanese Food. I know this is a little repetitive BUT you rarely see these three words in one sentence. So yeah!

*A quick note: it is still possible to order some of dishes previously included in the set lunch.

Zumbo Time

E and I have wanted to try out Adriano Zumbo’s creations for a while now. Ever since our visit to LuxBite, we’ve been craving for more gourmet desserts. The two of us were extremely busy the past couple of months, so we only had a chance to meet up yesterday. It’s all in good timing too, since we will be back to school next week. Ugh.

Just like last time, we shared our desserts. E ordered a Lemon Meringue Tart whilst I chose Pars the Strawberry Gran. Both costs $9 AUD each.

The two of us made the right choices with our order. The Lemon Meringue, albeit simple in sight, was perfect. The consistency of the meringue was just right, and the sweetness helped balance out the tartness of the lemons without overpowering it.

On the other hand, Pars the Strawberry Gran was very intricate. I didn’t capture it in the photograph above but there was another lime green layer in the middle – I believe it is the parsley gel. It was a little sweet to my liking but the sour strawberries and the crunchy granola helped. I must say, I’m glad E ordered the lemon tart. This cake would’ve been a lot harder to finish if I didn’t have something else to cleanse my palette in between.

Overall, I enjoyed my experience at AZ. If you compare the price to LuxBite, the prices are certainly higher but the serving sizes are also larger. That is something to keep in mind. I recommend taking a friend with you and sharing; it definitely make the experience more worthwhile!

New Years Eve 2014

Each year our temple organises a big event on New Years Day. My family and I are usually quite active in organising this event. As such, New Years Eve is typically quiet affair; Dad and I would watch the fireworks display on TV and then call it a night.

This year we did something special and went for dinner at St Kilda. We had made reservations at Ichi Ni Izakaya. It has an amazing view of Port Phillip Bay but to our dismay, they fenced up their restaurant.

We made an effort to try all their vegetarian options. They had quite a few interesting dishes. The first dish that arrived was the Wasabi Potato Salad. I enjoyed it but it wasn’t anything mind-blowing and the portion was tiny. Like, really tiny.

Next up was my favourite dish of the night: vegetable tempura. You only get one of each vegetable and a generous serving of their original tarte. It was beyond delicious! I was annoyed that the waitress took away our sauce before asking. I had a bit of carrot that went sauceless.

Another dish we tried was their Yaki Onigiri. This was a first for me, I haven’t seen this in any of the other restaurants. The weather was getting a little chilly as the sunset, so this perfect. I wonder if it is difficult to replicate.

Other than that, we also had the Vege Roll. I wasn’t not impressed with their presentations, but at the same time, I’m relieved to see that they don’t waste the ends of their rolls. The Vegetable Gyoza is really similar to ones served at Waya – except you know, more expensive.

Similar to the potato salad we ordered, all the servings were really small – they are definitely not made to be shared. The prices are quite steep as well. Having said that, their service and atmosphere was quite nice. It has quite a modern feel to it and the staff were quite friendly. Kudos to them for keeping that up during such a busy dinner session. Overall it was a pleasant experience but with that said, I don’t think I will go out of my way to eat there any time soon.

As a separate note, I do not recommend the Field Mushroom. For what you are paying, you should be getting something more special.

Taiko drums started to play as we left, but I was more eager to leave than to stay for the performance. I wore my peep-toe slingback from Trent Nathan, I never learn. My feet were sore before we even arrived at the restaurant.

As soon as we entered the door, I changed into PJs and removed my make-up. I woke up at 5AM that day and had a full day at the temple. We spent the rest of the night watching Princess Diaries 2 and snacking on biscuits. Our (expensive) dinner didn’t fill us up.

Before we knew it, it was already 12AM. Somehow we missed the countdown. We only knew the New Year had come when we heard the fireworks outside. All of us rushed to the balcony with our Appletizers and party poppers. The view was spectacular. We saw all the fireworks in the city go off simultaneously in one amazing view. It’s a pity I couldn’t capture the moment with my camera.

There were also people who released paper lanterns into the clear night sky. It reminded me of the time when we released paper lanterns a few years ago. It’s definitely more impressive from afar.

We went straight home once the fireworks ended. I think everyone was pretty partied out. So, that is how I welcomed the new year. It was definitely one of the more memorable ones by far.